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November 2005: International Interest

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News from Russia

• From May 30 to June 16 Carol Vesecky, Director of Biointensive for Russia, and her co-leader, Shoshana Billik, took a group of five ecotourists to five regions of Western Russia. During the tour they visited beautiful historic and natural sites, attended operas and had a chance to talk with their Russian hosts. To find out more about this part of the trip, access Biointensive for Russia's website: Carol will be leading another tour in 2006. The 2005 group also had a chance to find out about the Biointensive activities in the region. This article focuses on the latter and is taken from Carol's report.
After Moscow, the tour went to Bryansk, where their hosts were Ludmilla Zhirina and Igor Prokofiev, the co-directors of Viola, a non-profit established to help lessen the effects of the Chernobyl contamination of the region. Carol and a tour member visited gardens in two villages, “where Viola's colleagues are conducting an experiment using Biointensive techniques to limit the uptake of radionuclides into the vegetables they grow. We were received at their schools in Bryansk and in the village of Domashevo by the schools' principals, Oleg Zavarzin and Natalya Karyagine, who are active in Viola and had attended our workshops at Novo-Sin'kovo. The ecocenters at both schools made a wonderful impression, presenting information on the components of GROW BIOINTENSIVE, as well as natural science, various seeds of wild plants, student art work depicting nature, etc. Ludmilla and Igor also organized our trip to Orel [where Viola gave a series of Biointensive workshops last year], where we gathered at a ‘round table' at the university, where they plan to teach GROW BIOINTENSIVE in the fall.”

The group also traveled to Krasnodar, Maikop, Kamennomostkil in the Caucasus mountains, Kurganinsk on the Black Sea, Sochi and St. Petersburg. After the tour members had returned home, Carol stayed another week in Moscow with Biointensive teachers Larissa and Sasha Avrorin. She and Sasha planned the publication of the Russian translation of Ecology Action's Sustainable Vegetable Garden.

  • With five ecotourists paying all their costs and Shoshana and I providing a portion, we were able to donate $1,000 to the NGO Viola for their experiments in the radiation zone and their fall workshops at Orel University, and send $500 to Irina Kim [in Uzbekistan] for her summer tour to the Nuratau villages” [where she trains the villagers in Biointensive techniques].

We received a report from Ludmilla Zhirina in September, translated and sent to us by Carol Vesecky. We print here excerpts from that report:

“An experiment in GB [GROW BIOINTENSIVE] has been conducted this year at more than 20 schools. They grow the very same crop using both the traditional method and the GB methodology. This year we have had no rain since mid-July. At the end of the summer, few children do agricultural work, and the school gardens aren't watered. So now, in the autumn, the advantages of GB are readily apparent. The crops in the vegetable patches where traditional methods were used are small, the vegetables tiny and the leaves are yellow. But [in] the plots were GB was used, the greens are beautiful and the crops are good. In the gardens without GB, cabbage heads generally did not even appear.”

“April 26, 2006, will mark 20 years of our life following Chernobyl. The government gives the impression that the catastrophe was long ago and that there are no continuing/lingering consequences. But the people are even more sick; they lose interest in life and see no way out. Our Viola organization has reached agreement with several state farms and farmers of [Russia, Ukraine and Belarus] that they will permit analysis of vegetables for the amount of radionuclides. We have reached agreement with several science centers and they are prepared to rent us a special mobile laboratory. It is very important now, when crops are being harvested on the territory contaminated by radiation, to very effectively conduct scientific research expeditions in [these territories]. And later, when we show the people the information gleaned and explain that GB methodologies can help lower the amount of radionuclide accumulation, many farmers, schools and residents will begin to study and use GB. Later, we can use these materials at conferences and in articles commemorating the 20th year since Chernobyl.”

Biointensive for Russia was able to send them funds to partially support this research.




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